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As many of you know, I am in Spain for the semester. I landed two weeks ago, and did my fair share of sightseeing on my journey down to Sevilla from Madrid! I’ll share with you what my first week of travel looked like, and some highlights from each city.

I arrived in Madrid after a long sleepy flight at around 11am. After rounding up a group of students from my program, we were bussed into the city center of Madrid - however, there was a cycling race going on, so the bus couldn’t drop us off directly by the hotel. It was a short walk - only a mile. However, take into account that I had two checked bags both marked “HEAVY” by the airline (thanks Norwegian), and a carry on, and was feeling a little groggy from the 6.5 hour flight. The walk to the hotel was not easy considering previously mentioned circumstances PLUS cobblestone, but it was worth it to rest. We stayed at the Hotel Regina, which my study-abroad program booked for us, but I would highly recommend this hotel for its convenient yet safe location. It’s close to Puerta del Sol, next to a metro station, and a Starbucks. What more could you need? Oh and apparently the breakfast is amazing, but I overslept it. Twice. In Madrid we visited the Prado museum, and had multiple walking tours.

From Madrid, we took a bus to the Monasterio del Escorial which was about an hour north of Madrid. The grounds of the Monasterio were tremendous and full of religious and cultural history. We had to cut the tour short due to time and we still had so much to see. It was really shocking to find out that the actual layout of the building is in the form of a gridiron to honor St. Lawrence who was martyred by being roasted to death on a grill. Ay dios mio.

From El Escorial we drove to Toledo, which I am still very much in love with. I wish we were able to spend more time in Toledo - it is such an interesting ancient city for so many reasons, but I was amazed by the winding narrow streets, the overlook of the plains, and the architecture. In Toledo you will see buildings, tiles, and remnants from medieval Muslim, Jewish and Christian influences. In fact, it is commonly referred to as the City of the Three Cultures. If you want to actually see and learn about how the three cultures intertwine here, I recommend you visit the Iglesia de Santa Maria Santa María la Blanca. It was built by Muslims and given to Jewish people as a synagogue, and later turned into a Catholic Church. It’s not an active church now but it’s open to the public.


El Greco was also from Toledo. A lot of the little shops along the streets of Toledo sold swords, knives, and other medieval oddities. When I heard that Toledo was a medieval town, I definitely assumed it to be a little nerdy (think: renaissance fair). But everything about it was so special and so mystifying, and I would go back in a heartbeat.

From Toledo we took a bus down to Córdoba - our first city in Andalucia. We only spent a couple of hours here before we set off to Sevilla, but there are some things that I just love about the Andalucian cities that I have to note. There’s a lot of bright, white buildings - especially in the old town Córdoba. There’s a beautiful connection between the heat of Southern Spain and the architecture in Córdoba. Córdoba actually used to be the capital of Islamic Spain, which is reflected in the architecture as well. The Mosque in Córdoba is insane - I don’t have any other way to put it. This mosque became a church when the Christians came to Spain, but the Moorish architecture is unbelievable and the entire concept of the transition of religions in Spain is thought-provoking. Overall, the journey down to Andalucia was so fun, but so exhausting. Coming home to Sevilla for the first time was the best feeling in the world.

I've been in Sevilla over a week now and I am so lucky to call this place home - stay tuned to hear all about my home city in Andalucia! XO

sharing my favorite denim…

I’ve never had a trusted, tried & true pair of jeans. Sure, I’ve had some pairs that I liked, and would choose over others. On the flip side, I’ve also had jeans that sat in the bottom of my drawer for months. One rainy day, I felt daring, and pulled on the pair that sat at the bottom of the drawer, only to rip them off a minute later because of the stiff denim and uncomfortable waistband. Denim doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, I encourage you to find a pair of jeans that you look forward to putting on. 

Somehow, somewhere, someone mentioned J. Crew denim to me. I couldn’t tell you who, because I don’t remember haha. I just remember going into the store because they offer a nice student discount and had a denim sale going on. I walked out with my first pair of their eco-jean. Pulling these jeans onto my body felt like MAGIC. I used to feel indifferent about high rise, but this pair hits right in a sweet spot where it’s not too high waisted. The denim itself is the perfect mix of stretch & straight – it hugs in all the right places.  Plus, there is a classy button fly that balances with the cool raw, cropped hem. They also come in petite and tall! WIN! The denim is made from sustainably dyed organic Italian cotton. Not only is the material sustainable, but the actual manufacturing was done using renewable energy and recycled water. The facilities that produce the eco-jean are solar powered and have miniature windmills (umm… cuteeee!)  that save 5.3 million kilowatts of energy per hour (that’s a lot).

In these shots I am wearing the vintage straight eco jean with button fly. I paired it with this fun little bodysuit that showcases floral and animal print. I also love wearing these slides with my jeans – they look so funky and fun with the cropped hem! I pulled the look together with my LV & an $8 pair of sunnies… because #balance. 

So I did Whole30.

Hello friends! If you keep up with my IG stories, you’ll know that I went on a little food journey. Nope, didn’t eat my way through a major city, or try anything crazy, just completed my first Whole30. No big deal. I like to describe Whole30 to those who aren’t familiar as an eating experiment, removing inflammatory foods and seeing how your body responds to certain foods. Overall, this 30 day experiment is meant to show you how foods such as grains, legumes, dairy, alcohol and sugar (real and artificial) affect your body. Through the process of eliminating these foods that we tend to consume daily, mindlessly, we can learn what effects they have on our wellness.

I knew I wanted to try Whole30 during my last semester at school, because I ate a lot of not-so-whole-foods. I wasn’t eating unhealthy by any means, but I was pretty reliant on processed foods. I used a lot of artificial sweeteners in my coffee, I relied on protein shakes to get my protein, and lived off of energy drinks & yogurt. After being vegan for 4 years (until December 2018), I was used to and comfortable with eliminating food groups. Plus, I knew I could do 30 days – it wouldn’t be thaaat bad. So on Mother’s Day, I indulged in some desserts at a family party and decided that I would start my Whole30 the following day. This also happened to be the day I started my new job in Rhode Island, which leads me to the most important tip for those who want to try Whole30. MEAL PREP. Prep everything. Know what your 3 meals are going to be a day in advance.

Before my Whole30, I was only okay with how I looked. Meh, if you will. I knew I got bloated easily and could shed some pounds too. I didn’t really restrict myself before Whole30, but I tried my best to eat healthy. I was SUCH A SNACKER. I could graze and snack all day, which I learned through Whole30 (read the book before you start, trust me) was no bueno for my waist. I realllly liked how I felt eating 3 meals a day with minimal snacking. The first few nights were hard. I wanted a treat after dinner. I wanted something sweet. This graphic actually explains the timeline of Whole30 very well. And it did get easier with time and I was noticing my body and my mind change within the first 7 days. .

Grocery must haves:

Sweet potatoes. Avocados. Eggs & meat – I looveeee Trader Joes frozen chicken or turkey burgers. Ghee & coconut oil. Lettuce, broccoli slaw, spinach. I ate a ton of tahini, sunflower seed butter (make sure your nut butters are allll nut – no added oils/sugar). I wasn’t very creative with my meals and tended to have variations of the same thing everyday but I loved every meal I made and I still the same meals, I haven’t got sick of it yet! I love making salads and just loading them up with a ton of different veggies, nuts, and protein. There are millions of combinations out there. I also would either use avocado as salad dressing, or olive oil, salt, and pepper! Nutpods creamer is good if you love your morning coffee with some cream in it. It’s non-dairy, just make sure you get unsweetened.

After Whole30…

I lost a little less than 10lbs. My clothes fit well and I have actually gone down a size in most pants. I feel realllly confident in how I look, and I’ve noticed my endurance has gotten better at the gym & while running.

My skin has been so clear. I also contribute this to using Curology but mainly the clean eating that comes with Whole30.

I’ve developed a habit of eating 3 solid meals a day and without snacking!

My energy levels are high, my bloating has gone down, and I feel really clear mentally. I have learned to say no, I’ve practiced insane self-control, and I have learned that dairy is not my friend. I’m still in the reintroduction phase.

It’s important to note that I thrive with structure in my life and in my diet. It simply works well for me. Restricting can lead to disordered eating habits for some people, so I don’t think Whole30 is really a one-size-fits-all approach to healthy eating.

If you are thinking of trying Whole30, I encourage you to try! I loved it & am planning on doing it again… not too soon 😉